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Suspects in Strip shooting still at large; taxi passenger identified

Image

Steve Marcus

Tourists look northbound from a pedestrian overpass near Harmon Avenue after a shooting and multi-car accident that left three people dead and three injured on the Las Vegas Strip at Flamingo Avenue early Thursday morning Feb. 21, 2013.

Updated Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 | 9:06 p.m.

Strip shooting crash

Smoke and flames billow from a burning vehicle following a shooting and multicar accident on the Las Vegas Strip early Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Fatal crash

A day after a sensational early-morning shooting on the Las Vegas Strip left three people dead, the manhunt for suspects continued and police released few new details. Late Friday, the last of the deceased victims was identified as a Seattle-area woman.

The shooting — which followed a script more in line with a blockbuster Hollywood movie than set in reality — included two luxury vehicles, an argument at a high-end casino parking lot, a brazen, public use of firearms and the deaths of two innocent bystanders.

It all started about 4:30 a.m. Thursday in the valet area of the Aria, a hotel-casino near CityCenter, at Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue. There, police say, an argument started. Two vehicles — a Maserati and a Range Rover Sport — left the valet area and turned north onto Las Vegas Boulevard, where someone in the Range Rover began firing at the Maserati.

Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie said after the Maserati driver was hit with gunfire, he lost control of the car, passed through a red light at Flamingo Road and hit a taxi cab, which went up in flames. A passenger in the Maserati was grazed by a bullet but survived, police said.

Metro Police Sgt. John Sheahan said the Range Rover was last seen near the Venetian resort as it headed north from the shooting scene. He said police have video from traffic cameras at the intersection and were checking hotel surveillance systems, but added that the video would not be made public.

The search for the Range Rover and its occupants extended past Las Vegas into other parts of Nevada plus California, Arizona and Utah.

"What happened will not be tolerated," Gillespie said at a Thursday news conference, adding the suspects would "found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law."

Most people on Friday walked past the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road without noticing the remnants of the crash the previous day.

Orange cones sat next to scraps of concrete from busted columns on a retaining wall near Bally's. Yellow and white markings highlighted skid marks.

Metro provided few new details into their investigation Friday, but the Clark County Coroner's Office on Friday evening released details about the deceased.

"Detectives were working throughout the night and we no stone is being left unturned," Officer Marcus Martin said. "It takes a while to go through all of the footage from the cameras, and there may be some new information (but) we aren't quite ready to release."

The Clark County Coroner’s Office on Friday morning identified the Maserati driver as Kenneth Wayne Cherry Jr., 27. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest.

He was an aspiring rapper from Oakland who had moved to Las Vegas and lived in a downtown high rise. His twitter feed included links to videos identifying him as "Kenny Clutch" and with scenes featuring a Maserati on the Las Vegas Strip.

“I can tell you this ... the world has lost a good man," Cherry's 75-year-old aunt, Pat Sims of Oakland, told the Associated Press. "I'm not saying he didn't have his faults, but he was very kind, especially to older people.

“Whatever happened in Vegas, I don't know about, but he was a very kind soul."

A memorial for Cherry was being organized for 6 p.m. Friday at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road, where his life came to a tragic end.

The two people in the taxi — the driver and a passenger — also died. The Coroner’s Office Friday night identified the driver as Michael Boldon, 62, and Sandra Sutton-Wasmund, 48, of Maple Valley, Wash., as the deceased taxi passenger. Both died of multiple blunt-force injuries, the coroner said.

Sutton's family released a statement to KING-TV: "On behalf of Sandi’s family, Sandi was a loving wife, mother, daughter and sister. Her innocent and tragic loss will be felt by all of those who knew and loved her and by the community at large. Her family appreciates the out pouring of love and support, and respect for privacy shown throughout this very difficult time."

Sutton was a business owner and worked for the Seattle-area Maple Valley Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce as a marketing and sales representative.

Boldon had moved to Las Vegas from Michigan.

"Sometimes when you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, innocent folks get killed," his brother, Carl Bolden, told The Detroit News.

Michael Bolden, 62, graduated from Detroit Southwestern High School in 1968 and attended Ferris State University, where he studied business, his brother told the newspaper.

"He sold cars, but things fell apart here so he decided to move to Vegas," Bolden said. "He had been in Vegas just shy of a year; he'd been commuting back and forth for some time before he finally moved there."

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